“When I tasted it, fireworks were shooting in my mind. It was the first coffee that I have actually ever liked. It was delicious.” This is how technology teacher Brandon Petersen felt the first time he tried a pumpkin spice latte. He instantly fell in love.
His obsession started when his wife went to Starbucks and ordered him a pumpkin spice latte six years ago. Petersen really doesn’t crave the flavor when it isn’t in season, but he does admit to drinking it whenever he can get his hands on it. “Pumpkin spice just really gets me in the right mindset for the holidays,” he said.
His favorite drinks are from Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. “This year, I bought all the cold pumpkin spice frappuccinos in the glass bottles from Sunmart until they ran out,” Petersen said. He drank one every morning. “It was the best way to start off my morning,” he said. He can’t find them anywhere anymore but he is on the verge of buying the regular frappachino and adding his own ingredients. At Dunkin Donuts, he really likes the pumpkin swirl latte. “As far as hot coffees go for pumpkin spice, I don’t think you will be able to find a better coffee ‘round these parts,” he said.
According to Petersen, if you are looking for a balanced drink, you should head to Dunkin’ Donuts. However, if you want a strong pumpkin flavor, go to a gas station. “This thing is pumpkin flavor punch you in the face pumpkin. It doesn’t get quite more pumpkiny than these. For the gas station you might want to use McDonald’s as your gateway drink,” Petersen said.
Peterson has tried everything in town and is still on the search for more. He is especially on the hunt for the pumpkin spice M&M’s. He even went to a candy store in Lincoln and asked for the M&M’s specifically. He walked into the store, and the woman at the counter said, “Pumpkin spice? Oh that’s gross.” Petersen thought to himself, “Oh it’s only the most popular flavor in the world right now. Yeah, I’m sure it’s real gross.” He was disgusted.
Petersen is a professional when it comes to pumpkin spice. The most important thing is not to go overboard because you can ruin it. One golden rule to him is to never eat a pumpkin spice product and drink a pumpkin spice drink in the same sitting. “That’s too much pumpkin. You can have too much of a good thing,” he said.
Pumpkin spice is a flavor that you can love or hate. Most people find themselves either counting down the days until the release, or complaining about how the flavor takes over our products. With the holiday season among us, we all know how businesses take advantage of the jolly spirits in the air. But how do you know which latte is the best for you?
If Peterson’s expertise swayed you to want to buy a pumpkin spice latte, you better get out soon. Pumpkin spice season ends soon, and before you know it teddy bears and sweethearts will take over for Valentine’s Day.
During one of the coldest months of the year, girls at North Platte High and all over the world are wearing dresses in support of human trafficking. This is all part of a fundraiser called Dressember where women wear dresses and men wear a bow-tie every day of December to bring awareness to the world wide issue. Dressember’s founder, Blythe Hill, wanted a way to help support women, children and men who are entrapped in modern day slavery but she never thought she would be able to help. “When I started hearing about trafficking, I felt an urgency to do something to stop it. The problem was my interests and talents didn’t seem to line up with making a difference,” said Hill during a TED Talk in 2015. “My interests felt shallow in the grand scheme of things. I remember feeling powerless.”
“In 2009, everything began to change, and I didn’t even know it at the time,” Hill said. It started as a “personal style challenge” for herself, wearing a dress every day for a month, but then people around her began to participate too. Hill then had the idea of using this fun tradition to do bigger things, like raise money to help. In 2013, she aligned Dressember with a program known as International Justice Mission (IJM) and set her first donation goal at $25,000. “When we hit my huge, scary goal, on the third day of our campaign, I realized what had started as a few girls in southern California wearing dresses for fun had become a community of over 1,200 women in 32 countries who collectively raised over $165,000,” Hill said.
In 2015, there was 4,603 registered participants and by 2016, that number grew to 5,673 and the donation goal was $1,500,000. The foundation also teamed up with a second grant partner, Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century (A21). “We hope for growth every year,” said Jillian Saldana, of the Dressember help team.
Awareness for human trafficking is even growing at NPHS. In the 2015/16 school year, there was one student partaking in the fundraiser, senior Megan Wullschleger. “Once I started to understand what it was about, then that’s when I started to become more passionate about it,” Wullschleger said. However, this past December, there were around 15 girls participating.
Junior Mara Strecker began to get involved when Wullschleger introduced the fundraiser to her. “When Megan was explaining it [Dressember], the way that she explained it and what it’s for, it kind of made me think about it,” Strecker said. “I want to go into missions and I really want to go to India, and I was reading books up on it and [I learned that] there’s a lot of sex trafficking in India that goes on but like no one knows and even if people know, they don’t really care. A lot of what I want to raise awareness for is because of that, but it happens everywhere.”
Dressember accepts donations until Jan. 31 which means they won’t know exactly how much money was raised until mid February. On Jan. 11, Dressember had raised $1,420,586 that will go directly to IJM and A21 for rescue and recovery projects. These donations will fund around 222 rescue missions. Saldana said, “Blythe Hill really connected with both of these organizations, and how they combat human-trafficking.”
Still, people all over the world continue to be supportive. “We will get our occasional email, complaining about our focus on human trafficking or that we aren’t donating to more partnerships. But we remain focused on the ultimate goal of combating human trafficking. We are encouraged by our advocates and donors. We have hope that we can change the world around us. One negative email will not shake us,” Saldana said.
How long has it been since you checked with your children about their personal safety knowledge? We find many students at school of all ages who don’t know their own personal information. In this digital age, it is so difficult for children to memorize all of the needed cell phone numbers and addresses they might need. This is a great time of the year to practice some important safety information with your student. The follow are some great items each student should have memorized:
Cell phone numbers for each parent or guardian
Address for both mom and dad / guardian
Names of both parents or guardians
Workplaces for both parents or guardians
Name of school - Buffalo Elementary
Food or medicine allergies
As you consider these issues please consider discussing other important issues such as, crossing the street, where to ride your bikes, animal safety, and how to find help if you are in danger. Please help your student to practice these vital safety skills at home.